Exploring the Emotional Life of the Mind : A Psychodynamic Theory of Emotions book cover
1st Edition

Exploring the Emotional Life of the Mind
A Psychodynamic Theory of Emotions

ISBN 9780429200830
Published October 6, 2020 by Routledge
174 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This highly innovative new book reconsiders the structure of basic emotions, the self and the mind. It clinically covers mental disorders, therapeutic interventions, defense mechanisms, consciousness and personality and results in a comprehensive discussion of human responses to the environmental crisis.

For openers, a novel psychodynamic model of happiness, sadness, fear and anger is presented that captures their object relational features. It offers a look through the eyes of these specific emotions and delineates how they influence the interaction with other persons. As regulation of the emotional state is the core task of the self, dysregulation can lead to mental disorders. Clinical cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression are discussed, using the model to outline the emotional turbulence underneath. Finally, the elaborated theory is used to analyse personal responses to the environmental crisis and political strategies that capitalise on them.

This book will appeal to scholars, psychotherapists and psychiatrists with an interest in emotions and who wish to challenge their own implicit theory of emotion with an explicit new model. It will also be of interest for academic researchers and professionals in fields where emotional processes play a pivotal role.

Table of Contents

Inflow;  Part I: What to think of something that is subjective, multifaceted and fluid;  1. Recurring themes in rivalling theories of emotion;  2. Constructing the Maelstrom model and enjoying the view;  3. Cartography for psychotherapy;  4. To turn a blind eye;  Part II: Emotional turbulence;  5. The interpretation of repetitive nightmares;  6. On obsessive compulsive behaviour: losing control of the need to feel in control;  7. On depression: when the emotional Maelstrom grinds to a halt;  Part III: No emotion, no sense;  8. On emotions, the self and the mind: how personality is organised by integrating emotions;  9. Why it is so hard to talk about what matters most; Outflow

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Daniël Helderman has a background in therapeutic work as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. He teaches psychoanalytic theory at RINO Utrecht and RINO Amsterdam as well as supervising healthcare psychologists in the Royal Netherlands Army and speaking professionally on emotion-related issues. His ambition is to use psychodynamic insight to amplify environmental awareness and (inter)action.


"We work above all with feelings, so it is remarkable how undeveloped Freud's theory of emotion was. This book integrates everything we have learnt in the intervening century, in a new theory that clinicians will find immediately useful and practical." Mark Solms, Research Chair of the IPA

"Living near a river, my parents told me to keep away from the maelstrom. I, however, invite you to dive into Daniel Helderman’s Maelstrom model of basic emotions. He stirs up familiar psychodynamic concepts and connects them with contemporary insights into personality, mind, and consciousness. This book is a stimulating read and might challenge you to reconsider your way of working with emotions and the self." Dr. Frans Schalkwijk, psychoanalyst and professor (of special education) at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands